books written about washington, then he wrote, which is my opinion not the best book about louisiana history but maybe the best on television, and then, you know, i come to find out i don't know how many of you do this but john is an assistant coach and [inaudible] [laughter] [applause] so here's this guy with a real passion for history and football and this real passion for new orleans and the louisiana coast and i just met myself here almost. [laughter] i wish you couldn't get out of new orleans after the game because they want to draw a 50-yard mark above the city. [laughter] but to no to john and his
passion for the troops i'm going to find out everything about the flood and everything else as he is finding out about that or the great influence you get a history of medical history and what started here is what they were doing in austria and rockefeller and it's just like a good new orleans meal that keeps going off in your mouth and things happen. [laughter] but of everything that we have an advocate for our city and region and has volunteered for every kind of thing that you can probably knows more about the core and flood protection, what we are doing here and things
that are so violent to us with this kind of passion is remarkable so it's a pleasure to bring not just one of the great writers and people who do when he writes a book the pages jump up and smacked you write in the face and grab your attention so much that somebody who is a real advocate for the things we care so much about in this region so john, please, and it's a great honor to have you. [applause] >> thank you, thanks, tom come and james, think you for that introduction. that year we beat lsu at tulane and only lost one other game and that was to number one alabama. [laughter] anyway, now we are talking about this, finally.
[laughter] i didn't start out to write this book. i actually started out to write a book about the home front in world war i i was going to focus on several figures to collide in 1919 and american history and one of them was billy sunday the first great evangelist, the first great jerry falwell figure. a model for the great novel and movie, and i wanted to look at him to examine the role of religion and american public life. but just doing my due diligence of research started going back and back and act and i ended up at the beginning of the argument over church and state in this country and that argument hasn't changed at all in almost 400 years one. we need to understand that the first amendment of the
constitution, and the constitution itself didn't come from a theory. it didn't come from the imagination of the writer of that amendment. it came as the specific responses to specific historical events, and this is the history from which the constitution came and in addition as we all know the argument has continued. the argument began with john windsor who is the governor of massachusetts and roger williams. but it involves all of english constitutional history and frankly all of our constitutional history. he gave what "the new york times" called the greater sermon and a thousand years and has of course been quoted by presidents and others that is a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are
upon us went on to say as long as they get their covenant with god we shall find that the dhaka of israel is among us when ten of us should be able to resist a thousand of our enemies and make us a praise and glories of that in future men shall say of other colonies the war would make it like that of new orleans. now his definition of americans is a new chosen people. his informed american culture ever since. it's informed the idea of american exceptional as some and the believe that we are a christian nation. but from the very beginning, there was an alternative vision. roger williams was a minister with such a tremendous reputation that when he arrived in america after windsor founded boston he was immediately offered the ministry of the boston church which he declined
in because he felt the church wasn't pure enough and he believed in honoring the covenant with god that he had another vision of the city on a hill, freedom. the massachusetts authorities in williams would have it out over their great dispute but they wouldn't settle it. the dispute to find for the first time the to fault lines that have run through the 400 years of american history, fault lines that remain central to defining the essentials nature of the present-day united states of america. the first was obvious, the proper relation between what men had made of god, the church, and the state. the second was subtle. the proper relation between the free individual and the state, the sheep of liberty, the form of american individualism would
take. it's a little hot up here. excuse me. so to my surprise the book became much more about religion and american public life for the separation of church and state became about the development of the modern idea of individualism and the freedom of self. this is not a biography. you want to learn about how williams raised his kids or farm, you will be disappointed. i don't care. [laughter] it is in fact -- eda burba tick-tocks i've been asked about williams and his call bridges. i don't know. i don't care. what i focused on -- this is a history of ideas. but those ideas didn't come from reading books. they came from living through extraordinary times. rebellion, revolution, the be heading of an archbishop, the heading of the king, the rise of
cromwell, the power to be the stars out in shakespeare times and it's a story that could have been written by shakespeare. it starts with king james. james was baptized, catholic mass to catholic parents, his father was assassinated and his mother married the queen of scots but was forced to abdicate the crown to him when he was 13 months old. he became king of scotland at age 13 months. all his life he had this sense just like an infant you to grab something he could take it. it was his. nobody ever told him know in his life. scottish lords took him from his mother and raised him protestant. at age 37 he became the king of england as well as scotland and he took to england the political views. the best thing you can say about him was his personal motto.
blessed be the peacemakers. despite the repeated assassination attempts by catholics, often with links to spain, state-sponsored religious terrorism, on queen elizabeth, and there was an attempt on his life to blow up parliament when he was in it by catholics he nonetheless tried to build bridges between catholics and protestants. for one thing he made peace with spain and married to a catholic this only made the english protestants suspicious particularly they became suspicious as he began to edge the church of england and closer to the worship and theology. james and those who supported him wanted what an archbishop called the dtv holding us. some of those cathedrals are just extraordinary as we all
know. puritan's wanted simple worship. they actually were active almost a guerrilla movement people who would smash stained-glass in cathedrals. they would tear down and destroy curse of -- crucifixes. he wrote books of theory and didn't believe he had in the borders, any limits. he believed the king had absolute power and the english constitutional history, the idea of the divine right of kings, the apologists they tend to have apologists' around them supported his view saying the king is bill wally speaking by his divine right, end of quote. though at the current nation he had taken the oath not to alter
the law of the land yet notwithstanding he may alter or suspend any particular law for the reason of state, for the good of the nation especially national security. john yoo in the last presidential administration is essentially repeated these 400 year old arguments and in a memo he wrote he said the constitution, quote, would not apply his and he emphasized mauve when he was talking with certain national security situations. it's exactly the same argument. another indication of james d. u.s there was already in english bible and was a very profound document but as far as the james felt, it didn't teach obedience to authority accurately so he had a new translation of the king james bible that was enormously wonderful literary
work and obviously not just a literary work with the king james bible exists because he wanted to make sure any english bible taught people to obey authority. it was an actual political tool. the one group james didn't want to make peace with less. hence. he said he would carry that out or hang them or worse. he believed subject had no right to rebel under circumstances. that if there was a bad king who attacked god, the subject's only remedy was to respond, and this is a quote from james, quote, sob's and tears to god, end of quote. they could pray. the was it. when the a certain subject could lawfully resist, with their wife or chastity was threatened, the high commission, which was a
church court system almost an entirely parallel court system and present them and then imprisoned to others entered sir edwin to what you have ever heard of sir edward coke but i can tell you every single american knows his most famous ruling and i will get to that in a minute. he wasn't a pleasant man and he was obsessed with his own interest. there was one thing he cared about more than his own interest and was bill law. he was the greatest jurist in history. he defined the common law by analyzing the the decisions, his most vicious enemy and he had many enemies conceded to the king to give him his due without his reports of the law would be like a ship without about us. he also set precedents including prohibiting double jeopardy and
the judicial review of the legislative facts to read that is edwin cook. but the most important thing to him was what he called the ancient rights and liberties of england. when the king issued a decree and tried to enforce it as if it was the law, he argued to the privy council and was like the cabinet, the president's cabinet the king had no power to create law simply by the unilateral decree, and he convinced the own privy council to rebuff the king on that point. when the king in present people without charge, cook pioneered the use of habeas corpus to freeze them and until then it had always been used as a tool to expand the crown power and when some of the regional mall your leader in present somebody
outside of london the british habeas corpus forced them to prove that whoever was in prison was imprisoned consistent with the king's law and was able to expand the power. now, for the first time he is using habeas corpus against the king to make sure whoever is consistent with the law regarding the idea that the king is able fathead to overturn the law we did maintains magma card. the view was summed up and this is a ruling that everybody in this room and an american knows the house of everyman the castle. this idea almost a castle was not just some rhetorical, people fought it as a concrete physical massive torturous there is saying the great lords have no
more rights than in england had the same rights and liberties. their home is their castle. coke not surprisingly james dismissed cook from the bench. [laughter] cook continued his fight in parliament and when the king was pursuing limits on the parliament's right and he gets up on the floor and says when the king says he cannot allow our liberties the streaks of the root we surf for thousands and tens of thousands then he wrote what he called the station expressing parliamentary privileges and rights, and it declared that the liberties, franchisees and jurisdiction of parliament are the ancient birthright and inheritance of the subjects of england and the
handling of these businesses, every house, every member of the house of parliament ought to have freedom of speech. the king didn't want the parliament to be able to consider certain issues. james -- after this was passed by parliament and presented to the king in the parliamentary maneuver that didn't give the king an opportunity to reject its he ended up carrying it out of the book and ripping it to shreds and he then sent him to the tower of london without a charge and responded by saying if he desires my head he knows where he may find it. eventually cooke got out and james dot i's, the son of charles becomes the king.
the opposition, the friction continues, and cook wrote what is called the petition of right which has a direct influence on our constitution, several amendments of the bill of rights come out of that and in addition the habeas corpus calls comes out of it and he forces it through parliament and then forced -- put a lot of pressure on charles and forced him to accept it. winston churchill called the petition of right the main foundation of english freedom. every self-respect in man at any time and in any land. for much of the pogo that he was struggling with to preserve english liberty, at his side was the young emanu-el taking notes. he grew so close that he referred to him as his son to be
the bully was roger williams. williams hadn't read khator studied him. he had been beside him going with him to the privy council to parliament to direct conversations with the king in person, and his view on the liberty ran in his veins. he believed in liberty. by the time of the petition of rights, 1628, williams is no longer apply. he finished cambridge as a brilliant career as a scholar and he was a young minister and within days of agreeing to the petition of right and he began violating this. one of the key issues was he was collecting taxes without parliamentary approval and he just agreed never to do it again. but an even greater issue was the church of england and its
continued to drift towards collis some and this enflamed the parliament when parliament reconvened and immediately responded with new attacks on the king and he swore he would never call another but it wasn't that simple. while the soldiers were coming on the door at the house of commons, there were fist fights on the floor, people physically holding the speaker of the house down because if he rose that adjourns commons and he represents the king said he wants to do the king's bidding and there's a resolution. suddenly the -- those for liberty not by any means all puritans but those who fear the direction of the church of england and year the power that king was exercising took control of the floor in the past
resolution after resolution again people come soldiers pounding on the door and declared those who willingly comply with the king wanted and getting texas and other things were capital enemies, traders. then they adjourn the house, the door was open, soldiers rush into many of the leaders of parliament are addressed and arrested and watching it was roger williams. at this time, he was interested messenger members of parliament were using at the last note he carried on one of the members of parliament said the state in parliament nominal most knowing what to do the destruction was so sudden and so great he whose heart bleeds not at the threat of these times is so stupid i pray god send us a better grounds of comfort and with all to be armed for the worst but with the particulars were you have an eyewitness to report. with that witness roger williams
and his apprenticeship. cook had given william c. deep understanding of liberty and power and the narrow single sense but in the larger sense the way that it's an infrastructure around which society forms itself. there's another influence on williams. francis bacon. bacon is one of the most fascinating figures i have ever encountered. i don't have time really to talk much, to say much about him in this conversation but there is a substantial part of the book about him. i will only say he was chancellor of england the most important apologist to the heat and cook despise each other and spent much of each other's life trying to destroy each other and competed for the same job and wife and competed in court.
williams rejected all with his political views but the sign of williams' own independence of mind is that he could divorce his rejection of the politics and personal corruption for that matter and learned from him. he couldn't separate begin's the use from the personality when the king gave cook a copy if his magnificent great masterpiece and cook writes on it this should be with a ship of fools. williams read in the sort that. now bacon is known as the father of the modern scientific method and demanded not only looking at evidence but at testing your hypothesis against the evidence. he wasn't strictly in paris is to look for evidence out there in the world. you had to test the hypothesis and see what happens.
he said the truth is the daughter of time not authority. he declared i'm building and the human understanding the model of the world such as it really is, not as the reason and believe what like it to be. he taught him what to think -- could taught williams what to think. bacon taught williams how to think. the final in floods of williams was scripture. yet i don't have any time to get into the theology and in a way of interpreting scripture referred to as typology but to oversimplify, let me say basically he felt the appearance of jesus christ canceled out ancient israel. he and the new testament canceled the old. he was an outstanding scholar a link list and he read the bible and many if not all languages. he understood it was hard enough to reconcile the conflicting passages of scripture when you
relate the translation on top of that he understood was totally impossible and have a right in front of him the king james bible which was there was in a simple trick translation for the political purpose. he concluded no human could possibly interpret also ruptured without error and follows them no one should force their interpretation upon another. he called doing so monstrous partiality, partial to your own views. he also had an earnestness. he thought the best people despite the political experience in london he actually always gave people the benefit of the doubt. his enemy called him the sweetest seóul i ever knew. and even a bitter opponent
commented on his great sincerity, his disposition without fault as i can see any point of the testimony would be in question with many good endowments for eminent service to christ. these were people who violently disagree with him. so to sum up, he had a brilliant intellect. the idea of freedom ran at his core. he sought truth but didn't respect authority, he had a model of courage and what today would be called charisma. you add this together and you can understand why she could have explosive impacts. now i'm skipping over the details of the enormous pressure, james and charles put on the religious and political centers which again eventually led to the civil war and the heading of charles. but to summarize i will give you one example. it was one theologian which so
denigrated mckeldin in the basic of the field she of the church of england at that time is calvinist and you move the church of england much closer to catholicism justified the claim to absolute powers and they were considered social extreme even for the apologist the parliament would charge them with criminal. charles blocked the charges against him and elevated him to bishop and made him a member of the council, his closest advisers and montague then said before god it will never be well until we have our own inquisition. that is the kind of pressure they were putting on the center's. and these pressures before they erupted sent thousands of the puritans to america. now we come to the governor of
massachusetts. he had greatness, he was as one of his critics said a man of men. at the same time his greatness lead in that he exemplified the absolute best of today's values. he was sort of an avatar of the conventional wisdom. he was entirely constructive and not destructive but there was absolutely nothing original about him. to give you a sense of how important christ was to him and perhaps to most if not all puritans, i want to read from his private journal. he wrote of, quote, the most sweet love of my husband, christ jesus. he spoke of the eighth marriage chamber how was i rightist with his loved that with the kisses of his mouth leaps within me joy when i hear the voice of my
lord, my love. for someone with this kind of passion for christ, it wouldn't be surprising that he and those who were accompanying him to america were determined to build the new jerusalem, the new city of god. god informed every aspect of their life in massachusetts, even in their legal code red -- read like it did come directly from the petition in the identical white college saying for example no punishment can be a host unless it is why in express law of the country and know arbitrate power and that, also said it could be in the case of any particular case by the word of god.
in other words if someone could go into scripture and come up with an interpretation of scripture that said what that person over their just did is wrong according to scripture that person goes to prison or jail and included death for blasphemy and adultery although they did not execute anybody for blasphemy or they didn't cut off their ears or their tonnes or send them to prison. and they did execute several people four adel three also more frequently the punishment was much less it was either wittingly and you are probably familiar with the scarlet letter. those were real punishment. williams wanted a godly society but disagreed on using force forgot's law. on the day of his arrival, from the moment that he was injected
he offered the ministry of the boston church and he confronted other clergy and the magistrates, these 11 men who basically for all effectively governors or assisting the governors and he developed the following and did become members of the boston and salem church, and over several years he forced the magistrates and his colleagues and the clergy to retreat. on one particular issue for example, she reported williams was hurt before all the ministers and clergy clearly confuted him. but williams apparently didn't consider himself confuted, nor did the body politic because on the same issue, williams felt such a popular support for his position and later noted the government was forced to retrace its steps, in of quote. this did not help williams.
the magistrates realized that his popularity in their words only made him the more dangerous. and on one thing the most important thing the magistrate would not retreat on he said from the moment he a right to the state had no right to enforce the table of the commandments which governed human relationship with god. from day one the state had no business involved in that. the second table thou shall not murder, steel, commit adultery, perjure one self. those things the state should enforce, but nothing about the relationship between humans and god. years later he matured into a systematic vision of the power of the state in the individual but the basics of everything that ever developed later in the
comprehensive review turned upon the one nexium on the first table, and of the government and the clergy can forgive anything as long as the center confessed and could be welcomed back with one thing they couldn't forgive is to finance. they tried repeatedly to bring williams into the fold and get them to conform and the field. they told him however they would make an exception they would allow them to think whatever they wanted to think so long as he remains silent. >> it's not an accident freedom of assembly and press to be that's not an accident.
if you can't express what you think it isn't much freedom. anyway, he refused to stay silent and went on trial for his dangerous errors. the trial lasted for weeks because they kept getting him new chances to recant which he kept refusing. all the ministers of the massachusetts colony were present and all of these days in court and try as they might they couldn't reduce him from any of his errors come end of quote. he was banished. when you were banished from massachusetts your and execution if he returned after banishment. they were quite serious about banishment. they made one concession. winter was coming and they said okay, we will not enforce the order until spring and in return will you stay silent? to this, he did agree.
this was a specific deal and he agreed to it. but in his own home, his castle, his home among his friends he talked about the same issues he was banished for and the word of this got to boston and they ordered a dozen soldiers who would, of veterans from the religious war in europe and press them immediately on the ship back to london where he would immediately have been sent to prison for life almost certainly after having his years cut off and life in english prison was a life sentence was very much a short sentence, not even the rats ate well an english prison. windber however remained personally close to williams and sent him a warning a blizzard
believe the soldiers, williams disappeared, let him to the blizzard and never salles salem again. he spent the winter basically on the move. indians saved his life and in the wilderness he never really got over the sentence for the rest of his life he never seemed able to accept it and never quite to believe it could have happened that his friends and colleagues banished him. he could understand if they had excommunicated him from his church but that he had been banned from the civil society he just couldn't grasp. decades later he spoke of winter of snow. the indian saved his life is in relationship absolutely crucial
to this book. it's crucial to american history even the ones getting over this talk but the key to what happened later in london to lead in the spring he sat on what he believed was outside any boundary and he even planted crops a few flowers joined him there and he got a note from plymouth and a separate colony he got a note from the governor which said he had fallen into the end of the bounce and plymouth feared to displease massachusetts so he had to move but they did say if he moved to the other side of the water he would be outside of any english jurisdiction and should be loving neighbors together and they're the other side of the water you'll have the country free before you and he could make of that what he would be the course he filled in providence rhode island he made
it the freest society in the world. the governing combat and every other colony in the americas mother found a white english, french, spanish or the portuguese all started off saying this company is being pounded for the glory of god or to quote one of them undertaken for the glory of god and advanced and christian religion the founding governing the conduct for providence didn't say that. in an early draft he asked for god's blessing on this adventure but in the final draft he took out the request of god's blessing since it was an entirely servile document, entirely secular government was to be only civil and only secular. providence was a place where the
sole was going to be free to be and he began using the phrase sola dirty which was picked up a lot. as rhode island grew and prospered, massachusetts looked to displeasure on, quote, the parts that had become very offensive feared that this freedom and freedom of religion and ryland was this dangerous infection that might spread to massachusetts and corrupt massachusetts society to be and then of course, let's not forget all this land out there is likely to be of use to us. so they properly seized part of roel island, they marched soldiers threw providence to what is now ryland and the dispossessed people who were living there on the land they bought from the indians and
ordered them not to enter any part of our jurisdiction including the land you pretended to purchase upon the peril of your lives. the only way that ryland and his ideas could survive is if williams went back to london and got protection. by now the civil war had started and the king and parliament was in control and he had many friends there and massachusetts also needed parliamentary support for its own survival so they couldn't really take on the parliament. williams was quite happy to go because he intended not only to protect his call money but spread his ideas for suddenly now in the revolution you want the possibilities in the old war looked even greater than in the new world. the old world is where the action was that people were leaving massachusetts to go back
to london to participate in to k to london to participate in the revolution. he made several trips, two trips back to london and spent several years in total and succeeded brilliantly. first he won the legal charters for his colony by winning the protection of such men as cromwell that he had known for 20 plus years and was quite influential. he was the one person that massachusetts was afraid of. when cromwell told them to back off they backed off and that was the end of it. but more importantly, williams and what made him a major figure was that he became a huge figure in the revolutionary london. this is the period as the world turned upside down and europe had been alive when there was no king to read everything seemed
possible. there was this whole mix and he arrived in london having the ship while traveling as he had to go to new amsterdam because he couldn't leave for boston. boston was on the few miles away but he had been banished. a burly and anthropological study there have been many books, many. this is by far the best to it i think tom can get you a copy still in print. this book made him a celebrity. it was no longer just a friend of cromwell hanging around and begging for attention. he was a person in his own white whose views were shown up and he was the only person who was a close friend of john milton, henry, depending on how the english politics was the closest friend, and then he struck on
the question with a series of publications on the question of church and state and freedom and then finally produced a masterpiece something called the bloody tenant of persecution which had just incredible influence. it's a 400 page analysis of history, rall, logic, experience, and course scripture he had seen the corruption of the church of england, he lived for that by politics. and he lived through the corruption that happens when the church in massachusetts and the political establishment there was. he believed the political state couldn't touch the church without corrupting it. he knew in today's terms to would say he knew when you mix religion and politics you get politics, and even those who are strong believers the nation cannot deny that truly.
100 years before jefferson then he called before a wall of separation between the wilderness of the world and the part of the church his goal was to protect the church. he wanted to protect the church from the corruption he despised the hypocrisy and also given the impossibility of interpreting the bible without ever he demanded that come up with compression be granted to the most jewish turkish and christian conscious in all of the nations and countries, and of quote. he wrote that the warships steamed in god's nostrils and he compared it to the spiritual. he went so far as massachusetts was pressuring indians to convert to christianity. they got the word to him in
london. he believed indians should convert to christianity and he personally preached to indians to get them to convert to christianity. but he believed conversion had to be an act of the heart and the intellect both. and not forced by fritz pnac sure lagat cromwell to intervene and stop massachusetts from forcing indians to convert to christianity. there's of least 180 books and pamphlets in the last few years after that book was published which specifically addressed him by name. that's a lot of publications. he was the mainstream. their work even more publications as the ideas spread you know longer had to identify the author of the idea. it's just out there. so you just discuss about the idea itself, so it is really a sign of the acceptance of his
role in the the date and not that everybody agreed with an effective as a minority but, more starter been published the did not attribute even though they copied him word for word down to the typographical errors three but no attribution. and he went far beyond as he talked about allowing the freedom of the war as he went far beyond anybody else at that time to read even among those who wanted coloration the question is whether there was going to be a uniform worship and church of england or whether some protestant sects would be allowed to be a very few wanted any catholics to be allowed to be among the few it wasn't one, not one who wanted atheists to be allowed to read williams --
and they always specifically exempted atheists -- williams allowed what he called and a christian. his impact was enormous not only on people like milton, a generation later, virtually every scholar that knows anything about these people john locke said was a derivative of volumes, but his most of original and revolutionary statements dealt with politics. let me read something he said about the church that's politically irrelevant. the church or the company is like the corporation society or company of the east india or turkey merchants or any other society or company in london which the companies may dissent, divide, break in the fashions
and peel each other at all dissolve and break it into pieces and get the city itself be not in the least measure, so it was no different than any other entity in london separate from the society itself not -- remember, this is a devout. and calvinist. then he got even more the time even those who disputed him into king's what the fathi revolution against it still believe the authority of government came from god. no member of power even in the middle of the civil war argued otherwise in america after being elected governor of massachusetts made an address to the men and said it is just elected and said those chosen by you our authority comes from god
thought it was an actual statement everybody agreed with. it's extraordinary. williams is the first person in the modern world. even hugo as you know in the international is a contemporary he talks about well, i don't want to get into it now. sorry i went there. [laughter] but even he wanted a national church. and in fact admired the way the church of england worked. so williams was the first person in the modern world to win the freedom of religion to the politics and to say the government entirely secular. if you do not get your authority from god in the government where does it come from? on iain for the sovereign of original foundation of the civil power governments have no power
for time in the civil power of people consenting and trusting shawl and trust that will. this is three years before the most radical elements in london they were quoting him. they were influenced by him, and the idea that it sounds so on revolutionary to us because it is so much a commonplace. everyone in this room i think probably believes that what he said. but nobody believed it when he said it. he was entirely alone. he also rejected the view that was then universally held and some people still hold today. one of his adversaries in massachusetts said if the church and people fall away from god, god will visit the country with
calamity. remind you jerry falwell and pat robertson said after 9/11. it is exactly the same thing to read and williams called himself a diligent and constant observer of evidence coming back to begin. he did almost a quantity of analysis to the eddy looked at history and was a sophisticated man in addition to cook his uncle had been the mayor of london and his brother was an international trader and went literally all over the world. they then decided the world into roughly 30 places, 30 sections caminhas he pointed out, 25 of them had never heard the word of god of christ. anyway, he said looking at all the evidence, the success be the measure that the reason and experience proved calamity and success are to all and no argument of god's love or hate. therefore he concluded a christian magistrate and a former official was no more and
no better a magistrate than one devotee of her conscience or religion. try saying that today in south carolina and getting a vote. [laughter] that brings us back to the present. alza said the constitution he merged off from theory -- [laughter] it came as a specific response to the specific historical events. williams was an extraordinarily important part of the story of treacly and indirectly as much as the vision and forms american culture so does williams. as i said earlier every founding document but for a violent talks about a brother in the christian religion. rhode island doesn't mention god or in the constitution. the declaration mentions a creator, but in the constitution there is no reference to any entity which can possibly be
mistaken for god. instead it does use the word blessing and i sure that any writers are aware it is a loaded word but the only blessing the ask for is the blessing of liberty. 1963 of course the supreme court said school prayer was a violation of the amendment and the closest 1966 the republican leader in the senate put on the floor and amendment allowing school prayer. now a conservative constitutional scholar from north carolina criticized the supreme court decision that the time. but prior to the floor vote on the amendment he secluded himself for several days and actually destroying i know because my wife works there and
to give very seriously mending the constitution. he thought hard about it and walked onto the floor of the senate with a stack of books and gave one of the most legal and most deeply analytical but philosophical analyses ever given in the first amendment and its available online. if you want to there is a sam irving library or something like that. he started out sounding much like williams and ended up sounding much like williams. he started by speaking of his ancestors one it down and murdered upon the cracks of scotland because they ascended from the doctrines of the church and he closed by saying for god's sake let us stand by the first amendment as it has been
written and interpreted pity i close with a prayer of the senate will do exactly this and no more. just a little bit more and i will close with reading a couple of things. the words come from as and nonconformist a specific and limited meaning in england defined by whether one did or did not adhere to the inland practice. in america the words to on the more general and unlimited social and cultural meaning. williams wished to conform in this more general sense, but he could not to read he simply could not. he had any power that would force conformity and the champion of the new kind of individualism almost by default. he had been forced in the position. his views of individualism, freedom and nonconformity in both of the specific and the general sense were urging themselves in both england, and for now in the small parcel of america was rhode island.
yet, williams ideas nonetheless became quintessentially american. so it went rock. he sold to individual standing alone with god in korea's isolation. and so independent of the state to be almost outside of it. went rauf saw the state committed to christian ideas, demanding conformity and imposing the community standards upon the individual's. but we williams views on one side and those of one drop of the other was attention to it and that very tension was also quintessentially american. it was in that tension that the soul was being created. sound familiar? [laughter] cultural commentators and anthropologists speak of the myth of that in the form the society but it is no myth of that the puritans that found at massachusetts team to build a christian city on the hill that
would sean for all the world to see. they believed themselves in the nation to be chosen and blessed by god. their belief wasn't miffed but reality and it has informed the nation's identity ever since. but it is also not a myth that reali would puritans fled inland because they would not submit to forced prayer. they would not submit to the use of the book of common prayer. they wouldn't even sit silently as nonparticipants while others listened to prayer. and it is also not a myth but reality that another informant principle runs like a great river through american history and culture. the principal was first articulated when williams declared the statements not enforced those of the ten commandments to find the relationship between humanity and god. it measured when he further separated himself from the day